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To be honest, I was surprised when I found out that people were still taking this seriously. I’m not even kidding. This isn’t my sarcastic, mocking, borderline cynical humour. I really did have no idea that there were people out there who are so … under-informed, to put it nicely. Although, in hindsight, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Humans have a capacity for ignorance that seems boundless.

But let’s push away the nonplussed disbelief for a moment and look at this academically. Let’s pretend you’re not a scammer making money off the foolish; let’s just say you really do believe in the doomsday predictions. Here’s why you’d be wrong.

Stone of the Sun

 

Presenting the Mayan Calendar. Wait, no. That’s the Aztec Stone of the Sun! Hmm, so much for credibility. 

The Mayans never predicted a doomsday. So what is 2012 then? Well the Mayans used a few different calendars to mark different things; the “Calendar Round” was a 52 year calendar used to document the approximate lifetime of an individual, while the “Long Count” was a calendar for recording historical events over a long period of time. The Long Count has 5,126 years in it, and began in 3114 B.C. That makes 2012 the end of the first cycle of this particular calendar.

Cue unfounded doomsday predictions.

But what’s the end of a cycle? Think of it this way: our modern calendar consists of 12 months. At the end of our calendar, the 31st of December, we simply go back to January of the next cycle (the next year). Using the Long Count calendar to predict the end of the world is the equivalent of expecting Armageddon every 31st of December.

In fact, the Mayans continue to predict events far beyond 2012. They recorded time in cycles known as “baktuns”; new calendars were discovered recording a cycle of 17 baktuns, the equivalent of about 7,000 years (where 2012 is the end of the 13th baktun).

If that’s not enough to assuage your fears, let’s take a look at what exactly people think is going to happen.

Nibiru:

This doomsday hypothesis (and I say hypothesis instead of theory because there’s a big difference between the two) stipulates that a “Planet X” will collide with Earth. First of all, that’s just ridiculous because there’s no way a planet would be flying through space free of all gravitational pulls. Why do you think the Earth hasn’t floated out of our solar system and crashed into another planet? Because that’s not how gravity works.

Plus there are thousands of astronomers all over the world constantly watching the sky. At least one of them would have noticed a gigantic thing speeding towards us. The gravitational distortions of such a thing would have been sending warning signals for thousands of years.

Finally, what the hell are you doing believing in crap like this anyway? What possible reason could you have to believe something like this would happen? Let’s get something clear: the Nibiru  idea was first raised by Nancy Lieder, who describes herself as someone with the ability to receive messages from aliens via an implant in her brain. Does that sound like a reliable source? No. But there’s more; she predicted Nibiru would sweep through our solar system in 2003. Wrong. So why is it that people are bringing up this old garbage again?

Solar Flares:

This doomsday scenario claims that solar flares will erupt from the sun. Well, that’s true. But guess what? That’s completely normal and happens all the time. A solar storm hit on March 8th this year. Did you know that? Probably not because it doesn’t wipe out planets. It just messed with electronics on Earth.

Planetary Alignment:

So this scenario is the alignment of planets with the sun, causing catastrophic tidal effects. Well, unfortunately there is no alignment scheduled for December, and even if there were, there’d be practically no effect (Don Yeomans, 2012). The only two bodies in the solar system that can affect Earth’s tides are the moon (due to close proximity) and the sun (due to size and proximity). Incidentally, the moon and sun align quite frequently, yet we’re still here.

Magnetic Pole Shifts:

Again, a natural occurrence, though it takes around half a million years to happen and the process of actually shifting takes thousands of years. But even then, there’d be no problem if it happened, except that we’d have to recalibrate compasses and perhaps more beached whales, which would be sad. That’d be more a doomsday prediction that whales are worried about rather than humans though.

Conclusion:

If you’re one of the gullible that are fixated on the end of the world, don’t quit your jobs (if you have them) and definitely don’t start sending money to people that claim they’ll save you. You’ll just be falling prey to scammers. 21st Dec 2012 is just the end of one Mayan calendar. It’s their 31st of December. They predicted things far into the future and never made doomsday predictions.

All of the doomsday predictions put forth are false. They have absolutely no basis for existence.

That brings up an interesting point though; it’s probably the most disappointing one for me. Never mind the happy coincidence that the Mayan Long Count ends its first cycle this year, or that scammers are picking on those that don’t know any better. What really disappoints me is that this still demonstrates that people can’t grasp the concept that humans thousands of years ago did not know as much as we do today. You could apply this to a lot of things, including religion, but seriously, do you think the human race has been stagnant for two thousand years? That we’ve learned nothing during the transition from carving symbols into stone and having rockets that can send rovers to Mars?

The absolute scientific ignorance of society is shockingly highlighted every time some pseudoscience or garbage like this becomes widespread. I completely sympathise with people like Neil deGrasse Tyson whose life goals are to rekindle an interest in science, because without it, we just resemble a bunch of babbling idiots.

P.S. The Mayans didn’t know about timezones. Since I live in Australia, the 21st will come where I live before it gets to most of the rest of the world. I’ll be waiting at midnight to say “hah, told you so”.

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No seriously, why are people still trying to argue against the existence of climate change? It’s amazing that during 2010, 48% (Rasmussen Energy Update) of Americans believed climate change to be exaggerated and by 2011 (Gallup Politics poll), 42% still didn’t believe it was an issue. I use America as an example here because the country is used as a standard for comparison, due mainly to its political influence and dominant economy in the past (I say this so people don’t think I’m picking on them, especially with what I’m about to say).

And why am I writing about this? Well, maybe a politician or CEO with a limited term in office will only think of their short term results but I would like to see something done to protect the lives and homes of over 7 billion humans, millions more animals, as well as our food supply and the future of life on this planet. But even if I didn’t care about all that, this one reason alone is enough for me:

 

I hate seeing shit like this. As if a polar bear’s life wasn’t hard enough, going weeks without food in the freezing cold (by the way, humans have also messed up fish populations, making these animals more desperate, which is why many go into human towns looking for food – and are sometimes shot for doing so). This animal’s entire life is spent looking for enough food to survive, and now it barely has any ice to rest on. Increasingly high amounts of polar bears have died from drowning because they simply can’t find any ice to rest on after going out hunting for food. They swim aimlessly looking for somewhere to lie down, and they keep swimming until their exhausted body fails and they just drown, fully conscious but unable to move. Such a sad and lonely death for such a majestic creature.

 

So, despite overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus within the scientific (and global) community, there are still people who don’t think climate change is real, many of whom live in the US. Well, what can I say? That I shouldn’t have expected so much from the country with the highest amount of adults that think angels are real, and who needed the government to release an official statement saying mermaids weren’t real? It’s funny that there is infinitely more academic evidence for the existence of climate change than there is for god, but somehow, 90% of Americans believe in god (Gallup poll). I’m not trying to turn this into a religious debate, I’m just pointing out the stupidity in having the capacity to believe in something with very little evidence, based on faith, yet reject solid evidence of something else when it’s presented to you. I mean, if you have the trust to believe in something obscure, wouldn’t that same trust make you even more susceptible to believing something with a great deal of evidence? I guess not, that’s silly of me to say.

Now, it will take too long for me to list every single logical fallacy and false “fact” that climate change sceptics use, and many people before me have already done that honour, so I’ll just make a statement of absolute fact here: climate change is as real as the earth beneath your feet. It is not the result of natural occurrence, it is not exaggerated in its impact, it is not lacking in any sort of evidence in any way, it is not due to the sun (in fact, the sun’s temperature has gone in the opposite direction to global temperatures; see links below). It is real.

Here’s 21 myths climate change sceptics use and a thorough debunking of them: http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2007/07/23/anti-global-heating-claims-a-reasonably-thorough-debunking/

Here’s  another 173:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

Here’s an Australian Government report (you can easily find your own government’s reports):
http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/international/global-action-facts-and-fiction/cc-action.aspx

Here’s 10 more facts from academic sources:
http://www.climatechange.com.au/facts-about-global-warming/

Here’s an article from the Scientific American politely saying how sceptics are stupid:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-global-warming-a-myth

So yeah, if you still don’t believe in climate change, you’re either a genius whose opinion transcends the academic opinions of the entire global scientific community, or arrogant enough to think that you are, ignorant, or just plain stupid. This is not a discussion, so stop trying to make it one. How are we going to do anything about it if idiots still say it’s not real?

 

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